Global Music Network 2001
Bret Premack

            Baikida Carroll's Ebullient Secret In his first release as leader in six years, trumpeter/composer Baikida Carroll masterfully focuses his multi-disciplinary bent into a striking, melodically and harmonically rich pastiche of the creative artist teetering on the high wire of reality. Carroll, considered the quintessential creative musical artist, intersperses freshly painted compositions as well as small group conceptions drawn from his compositions for major theater works, dance and film. Accordingly, "Marionettes On A High Wire," on Frank Tafuri's OmniTone Records, is simply breathtaking.

            A real trust in creative freedom is at the core of Carroll's work, a trust that blossomed with Carroll's immersion in the mid-1960s as a seminal member of the influential, multi-disciplinary Black Artist Group. BAG, St. Louis' parallel to Chicago's groundbreaking AACM, encouraged artistic wide-ranging cross pollination and yielded such influential Jazz artists as Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Joseph and Lester Bowie, Bobo Shaw and Marty Ehrlich.

            "The idea is to vehemently and colorfully explore your imagination," explains Carroll. "To do this, one has to maintain an open sinuosity or a looseness." The music reflects this uncluttered, unbounded approach.

            "Baikida is a multi-faceted gem, appreciated by unfortunately a too small handful of artists, poets, dramatists and fans a situation we think "Marionettes" can help rectify" explains OmniTone founder and president Frank Tafuri who, during his years as U.S. marketing director for Black Saint/Soul Note, came to better know Baikida and his work. "Baikida is one of the genuinely, roundly talented individuals I and many others know. He has an exceptional spirit and outlook which exudes warmth and true artistic joie de vivre. His music bubbles forth with the kind of 'adventurous and listenable' nature which we've become known for at OmniTone."

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